The Latest: House rejects experimental drug bill

WASHINGTON — The Latest on legislation concerning experimental drugs (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

The House has rejected a Republican bill easing how experimental drugs are provided to people with terminal illnesses.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence backed the measure. It fell to opposition by top Democrats and scores of patients' groups.

The vote was 259-140, but that was short of the two-thirds majority Republicans needed under a special procedure the House was using. GOP leaders could revisit the measure, perhaps after changing it.

Republicans say the "Right to Try" legislation gives hope to patients with fatal diseases and erects safeguards to protect them.

Democrats and patients' groups say said it would achieve little since the federal Food and Drug Administration already approves virtually all requests it receives under a similar, existing program.

The Senate approved a similar bill last summer.

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3:30 p.m.

The House is nearing a vote on a Republican bill easing how experimental drugs are provided to people with terminal illnesses. Its fate is uncertain because it's opposed by top Democrats and scores of patients' groups.

The "Right to Try" legislation is backed by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Republicans say it would give hope to patients with fatal diseases and set up safeguards to protect them.

Democrats say the measure would achieve little since the federal Food and Drug Administration already approves nearly all requests it receives for an existing program that lets patients use unproven treatments. They also said the proposal was risky because it rolls back FDA oversight in the process.

A spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she'll oppose the legislation.

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